Here are a few clear goals that all Christians should certainly strive for: Read the Bible every day, whether it is just one chapter or three or ten. It IS our daily bread you know. Make sure that you do eventually read all of the Bible. Too many believers may only know some of the New Testament, or some of the Psalms. They really should read and know about all of Scripture. As I say, I aim to do this once each year. Try to make use of various reading speeds and study options. Try to read an entire book, but also try to spend some key time on particular passages or portions of Scripture.
Yes, another odd title. But then again some of you are thinking that Bill is a rather odd fellow. But wait, there is a purpose in what I am writing here. And some folks might find that what I have to say in this piece to be sensible, even helpful. It has to do with how we read the Bible.
Hopefully if you are a Christian you are reading Scripture every day. As I say so often, if you read a little over three chapters a day, you can get through the entire Bible in a year. With 1189 chapters, the math is pretty easy enough to perform: it comes out to 3.26 chapters a day to be precise.
I say all this because of something I saw on the social media. A friend was talking about the rich truths he was gleaning from an Old Testament prophetic book. He had said this: ‘Going very slow, sometimes just a verse a day. With lots of prayer.’
I was tempted to answer him with a bit of humour and another quick bit of math: there are 31,173 verses (or thereabouts) in the Bible, so if you stick to one verse a day, it will only take you 85 and a half years to get through the whole Bible!
Of course he would not limit himself to just one verse a day every day, and the point he was making is perfectly valid: we need to study Scripture in depth. Sometimes just one passage of the Bible can really occupy our attention, and lead to many hours of deep study, meditation, and prayer. That is a practice we should all develop.
But what about the entirety of Scripture? Let’s say you do so much intense study of Scripture, that you get through only a few books of the Bible in a year. What happens to all the rest of it? It is possible to go so slow that you end up missing the forest for the trees?
That is where my title comes in. Perhaps we need to have a two-track Bible-reading plan, and/or two speeds at which we read Scripture. One option is to do the three-plus chapters a day to make sure you have gotten through the entire book at least once a year, while also doing some slower, in depth study of parts of Scripture.
You might decide for example that you want to spend six months on the book of Deuteronomy, or a few months on the Epistle to the Ephesians. That is fine.